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Mozilla Files Suit Against FCC to Protect Net Neutrality (blog.mozilla.org)
1360 points by lainon 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 186 comments



Can somebody explain to me what is the base of the lawsuit? I mean, it looks to me if FCC has the right to introduce certain rules for Internet providers that Mozilla supposedly liked, in 2015, then they have the right to revert those rules back to pre-2015 state as well? So what is the basis for the legal claim against them? Or is this a kind of lawsuit like "we don't like it so we sue you, and as for legal basis we'll think of something"? I don't think that's how law and lawsuits should work... Am I missing something?

I.e., the matter is clearly political, so if Mozilla lobbied the Congress for it, it'd be clearly the right thing to do. But lawsuit implies there's already a law that mandates the result Mozilla wants, and FCC is violating this law. What law is this? How comes this law wasn't enforced before 2015 - was it created later?

The only argument I find is "it is arbitrary and capricious" - which sounds clearly false to me. Even if you are NN supporter, you can't fail to recognize there is a certain political theory behind what FCC is doing, and even if you completely disagree with this theory and think it is very harmful, you can not ignore that FCC is doing this for a specific reason and not just "arbitrarily". Can someone explain to me what serious arguments Mozilla has here?


>I mean, it looks to me if FCC has the right to introduce certain rules for Internet providers that Mozilla supposedly liked, in 2015, then they have the right to revert those rules back to pre-2015 state as well? So what is the basis for the legal claim against them?

Basically, the law all of this is based on largely predates the internet. The 2015 rules the FCC pushed forward by saying they were considered "common carriers" under the 1934 Communications act, which mandates that preferential treatment isn't shown, allowing net neutrality. The current decision changed their classification as "common carriers," so they aren't legally required to enforce net neutrality.

Mozilla is arguing that they're clearly common carriers, the court agreed that they were, and changing their status would violate the law.

The political theory around the FCC hasn't been updated sufficiently, they were mandated to deal with telephone lines and much of their control over the internet is based on vague interpretation. This was always going to be decided by the courts or congress, the FCC had no certain power.


> The 2015 rules the FCC pushed forward by saying they were considered "common carriers" under the 1934 Communications act

More precisely, “telecommunications carriers” under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which substsntially revised and restructured the 1934 Communications Act; the 1996 Act specifies that telecommunication carriers are, when acting as telecommunication carriers, common carriers.

> The political theory around the FCC hasn't been updated sufficiently, they were mandated to deal with telephone lines and much of their control over the internet is based on vague interpretation.

Their authority over the internet is based on a law adopted in 1996 whose major motivations included updating the 1934 Act to cover modern communications including the internet.


>Their authority over the internet is based on a law adopted in 1996 whose major motivations included updating the 1934 Act to cover modern communications including the internet.

The 96 update specifically lays out another class, information carriers, meant for things like broadband, that aren't regulated as common carriers. It did not see internet access essentially replacing cable and phone access, and did not explicitly give the FCC the authority currently needed.


> The 96 update specifically lays out another class, information carriers

“information services”.

> meant for things like broadband

Both “information services” and “telecommunication services” (the provision of the latter of which , other than in aggregated form, makes one a “telecommunication carrier”; there is no “information carrier”) have defined criteria in the Act. [0] The core of the dispute will be, really, your claim that “information service” is “meant for things like broadband”; the definitions, BTW, specifically recognize overlap between the basic categories and specifically note that to the extent there is overlap, the “telecommunication service” classification prevails.

[0] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/153


Right, service, my mistake.

The classification of broadband as an "information service" and not a "telecommunications service" has been shown to be valid in a 2005 Supreme Court case. The law should have been updated to make it clear that ISP's are common carriers after that ruling.


> The classification of broadband as an "information service" and not a "telecommunications service" has been shown to be valid in a 2005 Supreme Court case.

The classification of cable modem service in the specific factual context surrounding the way it was found by the court to be provided, used, and perceived by users at the time as an “information service” by the FCC was upheld in NCTA v. Brand X as sufficiently well-supported by factual evidence referenced in the FCC docket supporting the classification to be allowed to stand given the usual deference due administrative decisions.

The factual circumstances have changed since 2005, the rulemaking record is different, and, the Supreme Court has several new justices, at least one of whom (Neil Gorsuch) has a past judicial record suggesting a much more narrow view of Chevron deference to start with.


I don't understand your point. The current law isn't clear enough, and should have been amended a long time ago to make this a non issue. That this case might work isn't the point, this case shouldn't be necessary.


> The classification of broadband as an "information service" and not a "telecommunications service" has been shown to be valid in a 2005 Supreme Court case.

It's really invalid. What makes sense is to treat Internet services like information services, and actual Internet access service as telecommunication service. I.e. Internet is the medium of transferring information, same as telephone lines are. And services that go through it are already information services (think e-mail provider).

Turning ISPs into information services was their crooked and clearly illogical step to avoiding regulation.


> Mozilla is arguing that they're clearly common carriers

Does the law unambiguously define "common carriers" as including ISPs or does it empower FCC to make that definition? If the former, why FCC needed to make that definition at all and why it made it only in 2015 - the law clearly existed long before and so did ISPs?

> This was always going to be decided by the courts or congress, the FCC had no certain power.

I'm still not sure how it works - if FCC has no power to decide it, what happened in 2015? Congress certainly didn't do anything. So who is empowered to decide whether certain company or type of companies is "common carrier" or not? I thought that's FCCs job?


> Does the law unambiguously define "common carriers" as including ISPs or does it empower FCC to make that definition?

The law unambiguously defines that all telecommunications carriers are common carriers, and defined what makes a business a telecommunication carrier. The FCC is charged with applying the law.

> If the former, why FCC needed to make that definition at all

The FCC never made any definition, it only applied the definition in the Act.

> and why it made it only in 2015

Arguably, because the people who wanted neutrality didn't care so much about the statutory basis and were content not to sue the FCC over their failure on classification so long as they were generally advancing neutrality polixy, as they from 2004–2017.

> So who is empowered to decide whether certain company or type of companies is "common carrier" or not? I thought that's FCCs job?

It's the FCCs job, in the first instance, to apply the law, but they do not have free and unreviewable discretion in doing so.


>Does the law unambiguously define "common carriers" as including ISPs or does it empower FCC to make that definition? If the former, why FCC needed to make that definition at all and why it made it only in 2015 - the law clearly existed long before and so did ISPs?

The law defines common carriers in a vague way meant to refer to a telephone provider. The vague way allows one to argue that internet is also included, but it's all on interpretation. Which is why it's in the courts.

>what happened in 2015?

Before 2014, ISPs were not labeled common carriers, but the FCC enforced net neutrality through some other vague part of the bills. In 2014, the courts ruled on a case between Verizon and the FCC, stating they could not grant the privileges of common carriers while not designating them common carriers, ending that. So in 2015, the FCC labeled them common carriers.


> So in 2015, the FCC labeled them common carriers.

Which gives me the impression FCC is empowered to decide what "common carrier" means, thus making both "yes" and "no" decisions with regard to ISPs equally legal. Is there some other law that breaks the symmetry?


The FCC doesn't get to decide, it just isn't currently clear whether they are a common carrier under the laws given. So the FCC chooses what side to back, enacts regulations based on it, and waits for the courts to decide who is right.


The FCC gets to apply the definition written into the law bases on the factual circumstances, and is entitled (under current case law) to significant deference in its application of the law, but it's decisions still need to be grounded in the facts and law.


I don't think the other commenters are giving you the whole story. Read the suit. The specific injunction sought under "arbitrary and capricious" is that the FCC is failing to uphold their responsibility based on a 2016 court ruling which pivoted on the decision that classification broadband as a Common Carrier should be upheld - NOT Title II itself. What concerns me about this is that even though they do seem to have a valid argument, if you read the ruling on the case in question[0], it pivots on the court's understanding of Common Carrier. And the court's opinion is not a simple statement of fact. The issue is explored with nuance and deeply wedded to a discussion of anti-trust issues, which is why I remarked elsewhere on this discussion that the FTC should be compelled to step in if abuses happen, which is what sitting Chair Ohlhausen has publicly committed to do[1]

[0] https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/3F95E491... [1]


Four principles of internet usage were codified (but not made law) by the FCC in 2005; these kinda represent what we commonly consider "net neutrality". In 2010 the Open Internet Order was put in place, making these principles law. It mandated three things, no blocking, no unreasonable discrimination, and transparency (disclosure of network management practises, expected performance, terms and conditions).

In 2014 Verizon challenged the order and managed to get the blocking and discrimination parts vacated. So the FCC introduced net neutrality to restore the intent of their order in the first place. There have been other such challenges by ISPs before as well, and various violations.

So, in 2015 we got NN as a replacement for the open internet order which was a legal description of the FCC's principles of network neutrality that harks back to 2005...

NN isn't arbitrary, and seeking to have it restored isn't; it's an attempt at restoring the spirit/intent of legislation, rather than how case law has caused some aspects to be interpreted.


> In 2014 Verizon challenged the order and managed to get the blocking and discrimination parts vacated

"Vacated" means these parts are no longer the law, right?

> NN isn't arbitrary, and seeking to have it restored isn't; it's an attempt at restoring the spirit/intent of legislation

OK, but the courts have decided that legislation of 2010 was not correct, right, isn't that what "vacated" meant above? So, does it mean FCC in 2015 created some rules in the absence of the law, just by its own authority - and if so, why Mozilla argues changing those rules, again by the same authority, in the absence of the law, is against the law?


> So, does it mean FCC in 2015 created some rules in the absence of the law

No, actually, the court striking down the 2010 Open Internet Order as impermissible given the FCCs citation of Title I authority as it's basis specifically pointed to Title II common carrier classification as a basis that would support the kind of rules that the FCC had adopted.

(Why the FCC resisted Title II classification up through the 2014 draft of what became the 2015 order is an interesting question, of course.)


Not your point, but what law is not based on a certain political theory?

Laws codify values. They are always evaluated in the context of what society wants, what the leaders want, what previous law exists, and how it all fits together.


From Wikipedia: The FCC's mission, specified in Section One of the Communications Act of 1934 and amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (amendment to 47 U.S.C. §151) is to "make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.

It appears as a government agency they have acted against their legally defined mission statement by putting consumers at greater risk of discrimination.

I don't know if this is a legal argument to be made and it doesn't answer your question about Mozilla in particular but still I wonder if there is some legal standing here. The repeal seems to put them odds with their stated purpose as an agency.


I don't see how they are putting customers at risk of discrimination "on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex". I haven't seen any evidence that FCC intended to tolerate or actually tolerated such discrimination, or even that any of the ISPs ever attempted such discrimination. Could you explain why you think FCC violated this part of the mandate?


My reasoning was that those most affected by NN repeal and potential loss of access (slow access) are those who would not be able to afford ISP price increases for what most reasonable people would consider open and equal Internet access comparable to Internet for people with more means.

This would effectively discriminate against a significant percentage of the population would it not? And put them at further disadvantage.


This sounds like "world ends, poor people hardest hit". Of course, any price increase would affect poor people, but that's not how "discrimination" works - you can't just claim that anything that increases the price of any good is "discriminatory" (otherwise we couldn't have most of regulations, since many of them do increase costs, whatever are their other perceived or real benefits).

And, "poor people" are not enumerated there anyway - it's "on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex". You could of course claim that since there's more poor people among, say, blacks than whites, it's related to race, but that would extend "discrimination" way beyond point of any usability - you could then claim that producing and selling any expensive good is racist, which is insane.


Different groups of customers can have on average different preferences. ISP content discrimination could be correlated in favor of the preferences of some groups but against the preferences of others. Even if the dont do this on purpose.

Let's assume that facebook pays a lot of money to ISPs to be prioritized. Meanwhile github/gitlab can't afford to make any payment and these websites feel slugish. Let's also assume that the consumers of facebook are mainly female and the consumers of github/gitlab mostly male. ISPs would de facto be discriminating based on gender, even when it is not explicit.

EDIT: This argument should hold as long as consumers groups according to race, color, religion, national origin, or sex have heterogeneous preferences and if the internet provides more than one type of content to be consumed.


> ISPs would de facto be discriminating based on gender, even when it is not explicit.

is discrimination based on preference a real thing that the law can protect you against? my understanding is that you cannot discriminate against things a person has little control over (race, gender, etc.)

i imagine you'd have to prove that preference discrimination was being used specifically as a proxy for the others to have any legal footing and it's a steep hill to climb because some preferences can be more expensive to deliver than others, too.


> some preferences can be more expensive to deliver than others

I don't think that a kb of facebook is significantly more costly to deliver than a kb of github.

ISPs bill by kbs consumed or a flat rate according to bandwidth availability. In the second case, even if some consumer groups use more bandwidth, it is not consumer's fault. ISPs sell you some capacity, but they underprovision and are therefore affected by total consumption. Without underprovisioning, costs should be out of the equation.

However I agree with you that this point is hard to argue in court.


Am I the only person who thinks this whole approach to Net Neutrality is wrongly pursued through the FCC? Hear me out: if the networks don't access a physically limited resource like the RF spectrum and there isn't any censorship issue at stake, if the issue is truly differential access and usage due to oligopolistic limitation, isn't it for the FTC to intervene and bust up throttling and content blocks under restraint of trade doctrine?


This can only be fixed by the FTC, yes. But it's against Google's interests for antitrust law to come back into vogue, so they've put a lot of money into getting folks on board with the FCC, which doesn't have jurisdiction over Google, being in charge. In fact, the Title II classification that net neutrality supporters are so big on actually exempts ISPs from FTC regulation, preventing the government from breaking up their monopolies!

Net neutrality, as implemented, is really flawed in a lot of ways (there's a lot of practical uses for more limited types of Internet plans being available in world of IoT, especially), but this comment will be -4 shortly anyways. We shouldn't be regulating the Internet. We should be breaking up monopolies and fining companies for unfair business practices.


> We should be breaking up monopolies and fining companies for unfair business practices.

Ultimately in a perfect world if the agencies did as their mission statements said that would work. Monopolies need to be broken up and it can lead to good things, even just threatening Microsoft in the 90s led to Google, Apple, etc emergence.

The problem is there has been zero sign that anyone is willing to go after monopolies, especially after the Great Recession even though it would probably help us get out of the next one easier with more breakups.

The local ISP monopolies are really against net neutrality, Google isn't the monopoly we need to be worrying about yet. ISPs/broadband have local monopolies built on fake competition on purpose.

The vast majority US only has 0 or 1 valid ISP with decent speeds if that at 25-100 Mbps[1][2].

ISPs are the biggest monopoly threat regarding open internet as they control the levers, not a company that operates on top of the internet in the market.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...

[2] https://consumerist.com/2014/03/07/heres-what-lack-of-broadb...


Google is a global monopoly with it's hands in literally everything. A significant percentage of all inter-human communication, whether voice, internet, email, or messaging goes through Google. Possibly a majority.

Regional/local monopolies are barely a concern worth mention in comparison. It's as if you're worried about the street dealer, and not worried about the head of the cartel.


Look up the definition of a "monopoly." Google is giant, sure, but it's not the only search provider, or email provider, or anything else that it does (aside from some random niche things.) And everyone has perfect freedom to switch from Google to another provider of these services, which isn't true for ISPs if only one company has fiber going to your house.


Google is as much of a monopoly than Microsoft ever was. Microsoft never was the only OS provider or browser provider or sole provider of anything, yet the parent comment calls it a monopoly and praises the effort to hurt it. You can't have it both ways - if Microsoft was a monopoly, then Google is.


Microsoft was never a monopoly and Google can never be a monopoly. It's not something that a company is, it's something that a company has. In Microsoft's case, it was Windows and it was considered a monopoly not because it was the only operating system, but because of its market share. The only product that Google has that has anywhere near the required market share to be considered a monopoly is Google Search.

Even so, Microsoft didn't get in trouble with the Justice Department for its Windows monopoly, it got in trouble for leveraging its monopoly to support its other, non-monopoly products. If you want to argue that Google should be constrained under anti-trust rules, you need to show how they're abusing a monopoly to compete unfairly with other products. People have made that argument but it's less cut-and-dry than it was in Microsoft's case.

As it is, your lack of understanding of the basic definition of 'monopoly' makes what you're saying somewhat nonsensical.


Google not only has monopoly-level market shares in Search, Ads, and Android, they also have a massively dominant market share with Chrome. The magic, and where Google runs afoul, is how they leverage those to assist each other in ways you clearly ignore.

- Chrome will soon start directly blocking Google Ads' competitors based on standards Google invented through an organization it runs.

- Chrome pushes Google Search default, Search pesters you to get Chrome like three times.

- Android devices are required to ship with nearly all of Google's products pre-installed. Literally through a confidential contract almost every phone manufacturer on the planet save like... Apple and Amazon have signed on.

There are more, mind you, but this is kinda a taste. Microsoft did nothing this illegal, ever.


Net neutrality and ISP monopolies are important to observe here because only ISP monopolies can control packet level what goes through every single internet connection you make, that is why ISPs and local monopolies are important to the impact of net neutrality going away. ISPs inspecting packets to slow some down also leads to encroaching packet inspection that leads to more surveillance.

Talking about Google here is a distraction and a false equivalency as they control nothing in the lower level of your network like ISPs do.

Google is not a monopoly, they are a market leader with mind share. They were able to get the word "google" as a verb, that is through a good product and marketing.

It seems you really prefer companies that buy their monopolies via legislation and bribes like ISPs (Comcast/AT&T/etc) over companies that build market share in the actual market (Google/Apple/Facebook/Netflix/Amazon etc).

You need to read up on your Microsoft history, you are precluding lots of history, Microsoft is well known to do the "embrace, extend and extinguish"[1] technique back when they were essentially monopoly mind share level. Just one small thing in many that they did, they killed Quicktime, Real Player[2] when Windows player was created by making them not work on the OS level.

ISPs want to do the same thing with competitive products, it is a natural progression for a market leader, you can't blame them you have to prevent it with regulation/laws.

The only control Google has is to control technology via their browser, which Microsoft did with IE4 especially - and you can use others, and what kind of search results you can get. AMP is an overstep and their control but not monopoly level yet -- and they are overstepping on stomping internet standards in a new 'embrace, extend, and extinguish'. But even then, Google has less monopoly ability to control your network compared to ISPs that control everything you do on the internet and Microsoft could control OS level when Windows was 95% share and only desktop existed, which they pushed IE then as well and crushed competition, preinstalled and all that.

I like Google and Microsoft though, they earned their mind share through innovative products. ISPs just buy off legislators and create state assisted monopolies. The latter is very anti-business and anti-competitive much more than building support in an open market.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguis...

[2] https://www.cnet.com/news/real-hits-microsoft-with-1-billion...


"Packet level" is a technical distinction, not an important one. Google controls whether or not websites effectively exist on the Internet, for all intents and purposes. Google controls how those websites operate, what they must look like, and what security protocols they must use. If in any way, a website doesn't obey Google, it ends up delisted from Google Seaarch, and then it loses all it's profitability and ceases to exist.

I'm well aware of Microsoft's twenty-year-ago history, but it pales in comparison to Google's present. Your suggestion that Google earned it's place is horribly incorrect: It got it's power through buying off legislators (About half of all Congressmembers have received money from Google), working directly in the White House (During Obama's term, no company visited the executive more), and using secret agreements with other companies to pack in default apps, adware, and browser toolbars.

People make the misleading belief that everyone switched to Google because of how great it was (or used to be). I did. You probably did. Most people did not. Either a program they installed like Adobe Reader had Google Toolbar packed in which forced their default browser to switch, or they ended up on a device that comes preloaded with Chrome. Sundar Pichai's rise to stardom was the Google Toolbar, which gained penetration buy being one of those sleezy addons that came with nearly everything a Windows user wanted to install.

Now with Android, Google has every phone manufacturer doing their job for them: In order to get access to the Play Store, phone manufacturers have to ship Chrome as the default browser, Google Search as the default search engine, and include about twenty other Google apps.


> "Packet level" is a technical distinction, not an important one.

It is a very important discussion, it should never happen and ISPs want to do it to have the ability to slow you down and throttle you. NN prevents packet level bias.

Even if you still want to beat the Google is a monopoly drum, I don't totally disagree that some of their tactics are that level, this is just a distraction from NN and local ISP monopolies using Google is a false equivalency to ISPs that are your entry to the internet, before Google can even get to you.

You are literally off topic at this point, this isn't a thread on Google monopoly level tactics, this is about NN which Google would be market leader with or without. Google issues for another day, today is ISP local monopolies which you continually distract from almost as if you are purposefully doing it. If you aren't being paid by the ISPs you should at this point.

If you had 0 or 1, 25Mbps-100Mbps option in your area is that sufficient? Google obsession aside, do you think there is ANY local monopoly issue regarding ISPs?

Current ISP talking points on ISP monopolies are to distract to Google, Facebook, Amazon etc just as the WSJ has been doing. You've joined the club in distracting from the real issue, NN, unrelated to whether Google is a monopoly.

You go and call out Google for lobbying, they have to the way ISPs and Comcast/AT&T etc buy off legislature. You seem to like the companies that buy off legislature and provide NO innovative benefits to them running the web today, at least with Google/Amazon/etc there are benefits not degradation of service like the ISPs of today.


Again, packet level bias isn't a big deal when there's a company that controls the whole freaking Internet. There's no "distraction" with Google, Google is the problem, and they're distracting you by saying "Look at these little companies who aren't that big a deal. They're evil! Focus on them!"

Everything you are pitching is right out of their guidebook, Google has funded every net neutrality supporting organization out there today, and is behind every single move you see to defend it. Ask yourself why.


If you had 0 or 1, 25Mbps-100Mbps option in your area is that sufficient?

Google obsession aside, could care less about what they do in regards to NN really though I am glad that they and most companies and people in the country support NN, the ISPs matter on this policy.

ISPs/broadband/telcos/providers really are the ONLY ones that don't want it, ask yourself WHY they want it removed so badly...against most people's demands. They say it changes nothing, I don't want SLOW lanes, unless they are massively increasing infrastructure they will be SLOWING you down and INSPECTING packets. This is anti-internet behavior. If Google was actually using their monopoly about it they would crush NN because they will be top in mind share either way. When Netflix, who was affected by NN, stopped supporting NN for a while people flipped. Same with Google, people would be pissed if Google didn't support NN, this comes from PEOPLE's demands [1][2].

Why all the ISP love? You got some massive trust in them to both mostly have a monopoly control and to be able to control traffic (including speeds/data caps) AND have all your private info for every single connection you make.

Do you think there is ANY local monopoly issue regarding ISPs? Do you think ISP competition is good enough in the US?

Do you see the difference in the level of control ISPs have over ALL your traffic while Google has to have you USE them?

I have acknowledged some issues with Google but you have yet to acknowledge anything regarding ISP abuse and questions regarding broadband availability where ISPs are failing the US (Google Fiber was an awesome competitive boost we needed), nor that most people want NN [1][2]. Yes, your Google obsession is a distraction from the main NN point, the only people that want NN are ISPs/broadband/telcos/providers.

[1] https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/06/06/new-mozilla-poll-am...

[2] https://morningconsult.com/2017/11/29/strong-support-net-neu...


> The only product that Google has that has anywhere near the required market share to be considered a monopoly is Google Search.

What about Android? Did you ever see an Android phone sold without the Google App ecosystem? Oh, and the GApps tracks you everytime, even with GPS off it constantly tracks you. the only way to disable it is to reinstall with AOSP or CAF-based build. That seems pretty abusive and anti-consumer.

And we're skipping Chrome/GoogleSearch combo, DoubleClick, Youtube...

Google not only has a very monopolistic position in certain services, but also has a lot of control over the most used web services on the world (without being in a monopoly situation), and uses it to actively track it's users and get revenue with it. Google is one of the companies I trust less.


But you can always use DSP, cable, satellite, or even tether off a wireless if you don't like your home ISP. Just like you can use alternative search engines and services (even FOSS self-hosted ones) if you don't like Google.


> But you can always use DSP, cable, satellite, or even tether off a wireless if you don't like your home ISP.

You can, if you're willing to accept a second-rate experience. But avoiding that is the whole point of net neutrality enforcement.

ADSL is fundamentally unable to compete with DOCSIS or fiber; phone lines simply do not have sufficient bandwidth except over impractically short distances. Satellite can never offer acceptable latency. Cellular radio solutions exist on a spectrum where at one end they have broad coverage but horrible latency and throughput, and at the other end they can outperform DSL but only by deploying a dense enough wired backhaul network that you aren't saving much money over building out a pure wired network.

If you want 50+ MBps with low latency, there are only three viable technologies: DOCSIS over coax, short-range xDSL, or fiber. Only one of those three is currently widely deployed in the US. The latter two are available only where it is most convenient and profitable for ISPs to deploy.


>Satellite can never offer acceptable latency.

Satellite internet can offer very competitive latency, even though nobody is doing it so far. Small cubesats make lower orbits viable than what's currently used for satellite internet. At a low earth orbit of 400km (about the height of the ISS) you have a round trip time of just 3ms.


A theoretical alternative no-one is deploying is not an alternative.


SpaceX is planning on launching there satellite internet service in the next 5 years, and it could potentially have lower latency than traditional fiber networks due to the satellites being able to communicate more directly.

I don't disagree with you though, we need solid fiber internet options available at reasonable prices.


OneWeb has funding and has already purchased a bunch of satellites and launches.


The parent's point is that most alternatives to Google are a "second-rate experience". Almost nobody else has the data input to meet Google's offerings or compete on price. While the additional configuration options is a huge perk when getting rid of "we just do the best thing" products like Google and Apple, the alternatives are often a little dumber and cost a little more.


> The parent's point is that most alternatives to Google are a "second-rate experience".

Because there is competition they have competitively built up a better product within the market and on top of the internet. Google built up when Lycos, Excite, Yahoo, Alta Vista and others were there, they did it better up until now. There are still user choice and Google has no local/physical monopoly control.

People choose to use Google, most people can't choose their broadband provider.

ISPs could have invested in their own search engine or a third party one but they did not. Google built the best search engine but there are some up and coming competitors (DuckDuckGo mainly).

Companies that built up their market lead and or mind share monopolies did so in the open market, they did not lobby their way to a monopoly that controls your local area and blocks out competitors and innovations like muni networks. Google also isn't against NN.

If there is a monopoly do which you seem to think Google is, do you support companies building up their own product into a monopoly by choice or one that uses representatives and bribes to buy their way to control your internet from the moment you are on to the moment you are off.

Google is a destination on the web, built on top of it. Broadband is a lower level that we need to access a fair playing field of competitive products.


> People choose to use Google, most people can't choose their broadband provider.

Do they? In that case let's get Chrome to default to DuckDuckGo.

If you are right then usage stats will hardly change.

On the other hand 90%+ of my internet usage goes over my phones data plan.

> Google also isn't against NN

Google discriminates more than the worst NN offenders.

Lots of mildly controversial youtubers have been deliberately de-monetized.


Check again, Google isn't the one most people are worried about.

They are worried about Comcast, Cox, AT&T and the like that own ISPs/broadband, content and control your privacy on every site you go to with the ISP privacy bill they put through, which they moved to the FTC from the FCC so they could control it better.

You don't have to go to Google, you are stuck with your ISP and the other fake competitive ISP that they create fake competitive markets with.

Your points are literally the Jeff Flake [1] points he made about allowing ISPs to take your info and sell it / run ads on it stating that it is unfair for Google/Facebook to own that. Google and Facebook earned you going to their site to get that data, ISPs lobbied to get it and you can't not go to your ISP, they run all your online access. ISPs should innovate and make products to get your information to sell ads from, not bribe their way into another monopoly while the FTC let's them do it.

FTC move for privacy essentially away from FCC was the start to dismantling net neutrality with the same arguments even though it actually created ISP monopolies more heavily because now they get ad revs, content revs, and bandwidth/access revs.

How much more power do you want to give to the ISPs? You can choose to go to Google, you cannot choose your ISP on the fly and most likely you only have one good one in your area with fake ISP competition that was a cut deal in a backroom.

FTC will not enforce net neutrality, they have been against it from the beginning and it is a regulatory captured agency that loves the ISPs.

FTC probably can't enforce net neutrality, this came from one of their commissioners [2]:

> The Federal Trade Commission will not be able to fill the gap created by the FCC’s abdication of its authority and sector-specific mandate. After-the-fact antitrust and consumer protection enforcement by the FTC cannot substitute for clear upfront rules, especially given that vertically integrated broadband ISPs have both the incentive and ability to favor their own content or that of paid “partners” over the content of rivals.

Only thing the FTC can do is after the damage fines, which will be underwhelming. Rules/law needs to stop ISPs upfront, this is why they want it away from the FCC and on the FTC. ISPs would rather win in the marketplace, get their monopolies cutting out competition, then pay a fine rather than innovating to compete. Upfront rules about net neutrality are needed to help create the next Google/Apple/Netflix/Facebook that would be crushed without it.

[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/settling-a-bureaucratic-turf-wa...

[2] https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements...


I found it pretty easy to switch ISPs, but it would be pretty hard for me to quit Google. Nobody expects my IP address to be static, and that’s the only thing I lose when I switch. I get that some people can’t switch.

The ISPs suck, they are the most hated companies in the world and all. The suckage takes the form of “they don’t show up for the appointment on time” or “they raised my bill by $20” which produces a lot of negative sentiment in the average consumer.

Google and Facebook, by contrast, make money from selling attention, and their business depends on having good consumer sentiments. Turns out it’s a very lucrative business. ISPs want a taste of those tens of billions so they want a troll toll from Facebook and Google. They don’t care about some startups with no money.

This whole net neutrality thing is only such a big political issue because of the lobbying of the internet giants, who can take advantage of their positive brand sentiment to fight against the telecoms who are trying to get a piece of the action. If you think it’s about freedom of information or something, check out Facebook’s stance on net neutrality in India. Silicon Valley lost this round because someone who isn’t in their ring won the election. For the sake of our profession’s prevailing wage, let’s hope it goes the other way next time.


> I found it pretty easy to switch ISPs

I've been trying for two years to switch isp. I can't because there's only one choice. Every time I ask the other isp who is even in the general area for how much it would cost to wire my house, I get a "don't know, sorry' answer from them.

With my current isp their local infrastructure craps out (5-10% packet loss all the time) every year or so and I have to file an average of ~3 support tickets and wait a month for them to fix it. I'm 1-2 miles away from downtown Seattle.


Hello new user.

> The suckage takes the form of “they don’t show up for the appointment on time” or “they raised my bill by $20” which produces a lot of negative sentiment in the average consumer.

No the suckage comes from only one in many, many areas[1][2]. Data caps, charges on data caps, slow speeds, lack of competition after Google Fiber left many markets due to ISP thuggery. They also dislike the ISP privacy protections being removed and them now able to sell all your data. Say what you want about Google/Facebook but they innovated to get people to share their personal data, they didn't need to bribe congress to further their monopoly.

The vast majority US only has 0 or 1 valid ISP(s) with decent speeds if that at 25-100 Mbps[1][2].

> This whole net neutrality thing is only such a big political issue because of the lobbying of the internet giants

Comcast was throttling Netflix in 2015, they will throttle smaller players without abandon. Netflix had to create fast.com to test speeds because even the speed tests on ISP sites were fixed to report higher than they were to hide the nerfing of Netflix.

ISPs are much more of a threat to open internet than Google, Facebook or any company that has innovated on top of the internet in the market, not trying to control your entry point to the market by bribing Congress.

Nobody HAS to go to Google or Facebook, they HAVE TO use their ISP. They are the threat to open internet not the other way around. This shifting to companies that earned their position in the open market is strongly anti-business in favor of companies that pay off lawmakers.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...

[2] https://consumerist.com/2014/03/07/heres-what-lack-of-broadb...


You are privileged to have a choice. Not all of us do. I have cable, or 10mb dsl (with low caps) And I love in the nicer, newer suburbs of a 200k metro area...


> If you think it’s about freedom of information or something, check out Facebook’s stance on net neutrality in India.

I'm sorry, but I'm really not getting your vibe here. If I remember correctly, Facebook tried to make sure Indian market never saw net neutrality, and repeatedly spread FUD through their platform.


Right, my point is Facebook supports net neutrality when convenient for business reasons. This is why net neutrality is a big political issue, unlike other concerns of tech activists with less business importance.


> A significant percentage of all inter-human communication, whether voice, internet, email, or messaging goes through Google. Possibly a majority.

Can't be a majority. 2/3 of all network traffic is netflix.


This is false. Netflix is like 30-35%, Google is closer to 40-45%. And that's US-specific numbers. Netflix is much less successful internationally than Google AFAIK.


Netflix is a entertainment service, not a inter-human communication service. Streaming movies isn't communicating with other fellow humans.


> Monopolies need to be broken up and it can lead to good things, even just threatening Microsoft in the 90s led to Google, Apple, etc emergence.

Google and Apple creating their own monopoly-like business in turn (locking you in their walled gardens as much as then can). It certainly looks like a pattern, with consumers not having much of a choice in the end.


> Google and Apple creating their own monopoly-like business in turn (locking you in their walled gardens as much as then can). It certainly looks like a pattern, with consumers not having much of a choice in the end.

Agreed but you can still choose those, you can't really choose your local ISP now they want to inspect packets, control which ones they slow down and have access to all your private data to sell. They lobbied for that and Google/Apple made innovative products to get you to come onboard and willingly give that away. I prefer at least my monopolies to get their market share by providing products people want and love.

The only major problem with capitalism is monopolies/big fish controlling everyone else.

There indeed has been a real failure to break up monopolies, especially ISP monopolies that control access to the internet.

You can still choose away from Google/Apple but there should eventually be breakups if competitors do not surface and Google keeps pulling stuff like AMP and Apple with ebook pricing manipulation and other areas. But net neutrality isn't about Google/Apple winning, they will win if NN is under FCC or FTC, it is about ISPs and them slowing competitors down because they have the levers.


You can choose your ISP about as much as you can choose your mobile OS. Sure, maybe you have one or two choices of ISP. But is it any different one level up the stack? Your mobile OS is either Android (Google) or iOS (Apple). What makes one monopoly different from the other?


ISP monopolies control all my access to the internet, that is the difference. They affect everything I do on my mobile (whether Android or iOS or other), desktop and all businesses built on top of it. ISPs control a layer that everything runs on and they have monopolies all across the US. Is that smart? ISP/Broadband mafia wants a cut of everything, with data caps and overages they are already taking a cut of digital purchases while I subsidize their ads they serve me.

Android or iOS are just OSs and there have always been a small amount of those that are market leaders. It is nice to have 2 instead of one that we had on desktop essentially for a while. There are lots of other mobile OSs (Windows, WebOS, linux phones) though but those two are the top. They don't have a location lock or local monopoly on anyone, they won their users through innovation and products people wanted. The exact opposite could be said of ISPs today even though they were innovators in the 90s'/00s when there were many.

I have zero choice of my ISP in my location I have Cox at 100Mbps which is decent and CenturyLink at 12Mbps which is not even comparable. Cox gigablast and CenturyLink fiber is two miles over but stopped installing new when Google Fiber left. Competition could easily get us to gigabit everywhere but their competition is fake and their efforts resides in their past local monopoly areas. I'd literally pay for my line to be ran to my house but they won't. They want to eek out every last revenue cent with degrading service (data caps, overage charges) while the cost goes up, no speed improvements. I'd gladly pay more for more product.

Lots of ISPs delay is they want people to have to switch to their content/tv systems again instead of cord cutting, they are doing this by removing unlimited, adding data caps, and slowing service. They are either going to get people to switch or drive up the costs to offset losses due to cord cutting. People are cord cutting because it is a better product elsewhere and cost is too much.

Broadband companies originally disrupted the telco dial-up internet companies. I sometimes think it will take satellite internet from like SpaceX or some new innovation and current ISPs will be dropped like a hot rock, like phone lines for cable internet back on the 90s/00s.

Do you think it is smart to only have 1 provider in most of the US for broadband? Would you want that in your area?


Apple is not a monopoly any sense or legal definition. It's false equivalency to come them to cable providers.


I think it's highly market specific. Moving to NoVa from MI I have now like 5 ISP options with very competitive pricing and variety of high speed option including Comcast Xfinity 2000 Mbps, Verizon FIOS etc.


Your local anecdote is nice but the VAST MAJORITY of the US only has 0 or 1 valid ISP with decent speeds if that at 25-100 Mbps[1][2].

Removing NN will also increase revenues for ISPs that currently are already or on their way to monopolies, which will create even more fake ISP competition.

Everyone saw what happened when Google Fiber was threatening, suddenly competition...

[1] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...

[2] https://consumerist.com/2014/03/07/heres-what-lack-of-broadb...


I used to think the same it is likely though that in large metro areas e.g. NYC, LA, DC, Philadelphia ... etc. there is strong competition and wide availability of interesting options. Given the population numbers the VAST MAJORITY is more like 50/50


NYC has large sections with one reasonable (100Mbps) ISP.

There are few places in the Boston-Cambridge-Brookline metro area where you can get more than one. FiOS rollouts are spotty and often don't even encompass entire neighborhoods, which leaves you either with RCN--who tend to be pretty okay, as ISPs go--or the ongoing garbage fire of Comcast.

I strongly doubt that most "large metro areas" have pervasive, meaningful competition in even most areas, let alone all.


As seen in my links, 80% (30% with zero) of the country/population has 0-1 options for 25Mbps and 92% (55% with zero) of the country/population have 0-1 options for 100Mbps.

Even areas in the big cities you mentioned most people only have 0-1 choices for 25Mbps-100Mbps.

I won't even go into the small amount that has access to gigabit which everyone should be on.

If you are ok with that, that is on you, we can do better and we need to, our ISPs are failing us and holding us back.

ISPs said only net neutrality was holding them back from investing in increasing speeds, availability and rolling out gigabit, so I fully expect speeds and gigabit to be to available to everyone soon. /s


You do realize that's data from 2014 ? By mid 2016 it's 49% of households have at least 2 broadband providers and 68% have at least one provider offering 100/10 or better it's 2018 now.


The Ars data is from mid to late 2015 which not much has changed from due to ISPs stance and their spending on legislature bribes/lobby instead of on their networks. Costs have gone up but not speeds or availability. Cord cutting also increased rapidly the last couple years, so ISPs stopped expanding to increase revenues from data caps, overages and forcing people to 'upgrade' to worse service to make up the revs.

Nothing has changed on ISP infrastructure/improvements since late '15/'16 other than maintenance. I see no sources on your point that it has changed and locally here just data caps have been added, no speed improvements or innovation. ISPs just worked with the FCC to LOWER the number that is rated 'broadband' to 10Mbps as broadband in their description. 10 Mbps is not acceptable for a more than a single person, 25-100 is barely acceptable -- everyone should be on gigabit -- lots of false 12Mbps competition which does not compare to 25/100 Mbps. ISPs have not expanded their networks enough at all by their own admission as they said NN was preventing that supposedly eventhough we know it is cord cutters cutting into investment because ISPs/providers got greedy.

2015-present the ISPs stopped expanding after Google Fiber pulled out of markets and they were being bratty about net neutrality passing, they put all their money in lobbying. They literally said in their lobbying that NN has hindered investment and did little '16-'18 just to stick to that talking point until their paid off lawmen killed NN.

Of course, now that net neutrality is gone, what they said was 'holding up' investment in their networks, I am sure they will be expanding at a rapid clip and we'll all have gigabit internet soon now right? /s



> 80% (30% with zero) of the country/population has 0-1 options for 25Mbps and 92% (55% with zero) of the country/population have 0-1 options for 100Mbps

Good data, though these numbers still are pretty much the same. The data you linked rates 10/25 Mbps not 25/100 Mbps when rating competition in areas. Most people still only have 0 or 1 options at 25/100 Mbps.

There has been a small bump in 25 Mbps. But even then they are only are up a bit. However, 49% for 25Mbps is still pathetically sad, up under 20% only in 4 years as they did little '16-present to help push NN removal.

They fail to highlight that most places with 'multiple broadband providers', of over 10 Mbps which is not really broadband that is good for today, typically have one provider at 100Mbps or higher and the other false competition at 10-12 Mbps so they just barely rate at the low 10Mbps pathetic broadband classification. ISPs also still have great interest in their local monopolies, which still more than half the population are under at 25 Mbps, and more than 2/3rds under 100Mbps local monopolies, only 10% have gigabit available and those areas have no competitive option, not good enough for the US.

Much of the move to 100 Mbps, which the broadband cable companies could do more easily with DOCSIS anyday they like, was the result of areas that Google Fiber entered. Cox for instance was 25 Mbps down here until Google Fiber then suddenly they got 100/300 Mbps and started offering gigablast/gigabit but that quickly stopped after Google pulled out. REAL competition is good. Saying competition is one provider with 100Mbps and the competitor at 10Mbps is not real competition.

Most of the US is still under local monopolies for 25 Mbps service (0 or 1 option only), and nearly all of the US is under local monopoly for 100+ Mbps, unacceptable.

So now that ISPs have net neutrality removed I am sure we will see multiple 100 Mbps competitive products and gigabit service rapidly rolling out across the country right? /s


This can only be fixed by the FTC, yes. But it's against Google's interests for antitrust law to come back into vogue, so they've put a lot of money into getting folks on board with the FCC, which doesn't have jurisdiction over Google, being in charge.

In other words: Protecting Net Neutrality through the FCC is not politically stable. We have clear proof of that. Google just wants that because it's protecting its own interests over that of the public at large.

"Don't be evil." -- Apparently that doesn't include self interest to the detriment of the public.


Their motto may as well just be “Be evil” now imo. It seems like they’re on the wrong side of basically every issue.


"Make money", perhaps?


gEvil Corp.

Being a publically traded company, they have a duty to make money for their shareholders (I think but am not sure that duty might even be legal).

If they were a Social Benefit Corp, then they wouldn't have such a duty, and so could choose to not make money when doing so would cause evil.


And because Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) is trading at like $1K/share, it's out of most people's hands to even be eligible for the shareholders' meeting. On top of that, the float is almost 603 million shares, and ~81% are held by institutions rather than private investors. ~10% of the company is held by "people" rather than other companies - not enough to make a real change happen in terms of corporate policy. If you could manage to get a coalition together to buy even 51% of the float (~$3.75B), not only would that represent a heck of a lot of money invested, but you could potentially step in and change the direction of the company as shareholders.

Big problem: that's not realistic.


Isn't nearly all voting power of Google still owned by the founding folks/executives? Non-voting shares has become a big thing these days to prevent shareholders from affecting company direction.


Basically, but there's a wonderful thing called a short sale. If tons of people sell Google short, or threaten to do so, it's very likely have an effect. Also, live long and prosper.


Even as a publicly traded company I think that making money is a necessity but not really the primary focus for them now. They’ve gotten to a point where power is the most valuable thing, even when it comes to their ability to make money. This probably has something to do with their monolithic culture and strong political orientation.


What a joke. The idea that the US is going to break up monopolies and conspiring oligarchies is plain laughable. While you're talking about fairy tales, why don't you suggest that if elected officials were honest...


The blocked T-Mobile/ATT merger was one of the greatest decisions of the decade. T-Mobile has kept everyone honest.


On the contrary. Antitrust regulation is an essential function of the government which it has performed for a long time.

If the government is failing to carry out essential functions, that suggests a radical change in government is likely to occur (or has already begun).


it's happened before


there's a lot of practical uses for more limited types of Internet plans being available in world of IoT, especially

Can you clarify what you mean by this?


Not the parent poster, but for instance, but think having a dozen data loggers out in the field that only need to transfer a few 100k of data each day. No need for 4G or multi gigabyte packages plus hefty per-device line/access fee.


That has nothing to do with net neutrality. These companies are free under any form of the law to offer you a small-cap low-speed plan for a small fee but they don't bother.

If they restricted the services you could access or their relative speeds, then you get into trouble.


This is the fundamental misunderstanding.

Most in the ISP crowd agree with what you are agreeing with. But the net neutrality folks predominantly reject this approach.

I want surgery over IP. I don’t want surgical packets treated the same as a YouTube packet.


> I want surgery over IP. I don’t want surgical packets treated the same as a YouTube packet.

Do you really think these two statements are at all related?


Then buy a dedicated line with SLA's and such in writing. I don't understand how people don't understand this by now.


You definitely don't want surgery over the Internet - what happens when someone slices through your local fibre cable, for a start? Think about what you're saying.


You can pay for lower latency on your end.


ISP: Here's a cheap IoT plan! $5 a year!

Customer: Yay I'll buy a ${Brand} IoT device.

...

Customer: ISP, why isn't my {$Brand} IoT device working on your network?

ISP: Oh you need the $150 a month add-on to support your ${Brand} IoT device because ${Business Decision}.

The benefits of net neutrality still applies to IoT devices IMHO.


This doesn't make any sense, because nobody would buy the $150 a month add-on for an IoT device. This is why net neutrality makes no sense: The arguments for it are based on illogical premises. Verizon could charge $150 a month, but nobody would buy that service, and they make no money. But a $5 a year plan, gets a TON of new sales, hundreds of thousands of IoT devices, hypothetically, and the network limitations keep it from being hacked and abused in ways that make it unprofitable for Verizon to offer such a $5 offer. That connection could be restrict to only talk to $IoTDevicesServer, and it becomes incredibly worthwhile for Verizon to offer, as the cost of connectivity chips gets drastically lower, and IPv6 means they no longer need to worry about wasting IP addresses.

Fundamentally, ISPs are already charging the most money they can get away with at this point and time. The law doesn't change that, and net neutrality doesn't restrict that. They like money, so they set their prices as high as possible. The only thing net neutrality laws prevent is cheaper, limited internet plans BELOW that. For smaller things, low income families, etc.


What part of net neutrality proposals would prevent ISPs from offering lower speed plans at lower prices?

Also, where has anybody argued that net neutrality would prevent the customer from choosing to block all but a specific host?

You've come down against net neutrality in every thread I've seen about it lately. Have you come across any arguments in favor that are persuasive to you?


Net neutrality outlaws any conduct by the ISP to regulate or throttle off destinations by which site it is. Customers aren't doing it, the ISP is. Even Ajit Pai's proposal demands transparency so customers can make their own decisions, but net neutrality would indeed prohibit specific use Internet offerings.

Nobody could offer one because net neutrality would prohibit an ISP from intervening if you popped the SIM into another device to surf the web with it.

Google and Netflix are both against allowing such because streaming video, of which these companies own the largest providers of streaming video, would be the primary thing limited plans would all definitely restrict. Neither company wants ISPs selling Internet plans that can't use their video services.

Even if it'd be good for the customer.


> because streaming video, of which these companies own the largest providers of streaming video, would be the primary thing limited plans would all definitely restrict.

No, the primary thing limited plans would all definitely restrict would be the quantity of data transferred. That's what all the cellular providers already have the infrastructure to monitor and control. And once you've created an IoT-oriented tier of service that is limited to eg. 100MB/month, there's no reason to expend further effort trying to identify and block video streaming services.


I also don't see any reason why a provider couldn't offer a customer-controlled firewall option that disables access to everything but specific endpoints for IoT devices, especially if the "customer" is the IoT device service provider.


The mission of the FCC according to wikipedia is to "make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges."

Net neutrality sounds consistent with this to me.


From what I read, the whole issue turns on the definition of broadband as a Common Carrier according to the suit from Mozilla, which is alleging that the FCC's decision falls under the Arbitrary and Capricious standard. But in the case cited for precedent, the telecoms didn't challenge the FCC's prior claim that Common Carrier applied. If they can successfully do that, then the FCC is free again to abdicate NN regulations. Again, I am not anti-NN. I just think the stronger legal justification, precedent, and evidence is going to be found in antitrust law.


This is the problem that a lot of people have with the FCC regulatory approach, specifically abusing Article 2 of the 1996 communications act.

Net neutrality is essential for the internet to continue to thrive and flourish as it has done since 1996. But using Article 2 for that purpose is like using a sledgehammer on a finishing nail.

Article 2 was aimed at the true AT&T telecom behemoths of the world. But it is not the job of any federal agency to dictate what its own job is to Congress, i.e. in this case the FCC deciding it wants different public policy from what its charter statutes support. Congress sets public policy and determines how much leeway it will delegate to the agencies and the President. Federal agencies (of any stripe) arrogating power unto themselves is undemocratic, even if well-intentioned.

So the problem is that Congress has failed to act to block the new abusive behaviors of the ISPs, and we need Congress to write new laws. Personally I think that if sufficient leeway were granted to encourage local competition, all of this and a bunch of other abuses (exhibit A: Comcast customer support) would vanish in a puff of smoke.

Side note, I happily donate every month to the EFF, but I believe they are misguided in their support for lawsuits like those announced today.


> But using Article 2 for that purpose is like using a sledgehammer on a finishing nail.

Is it? I don't think it's unreasonable at all to define, what is often the only ISP in a whole region, as a common carrier. It's practically the definition.

> Article 2 was aimed at the true AT&T telecom behemoths of the world.

And here we are with new telecom behemoths!

Commissions like the FCC and FTC exist to create regulations so that Congress is not writing hundreds to thousands of laws at a level of detail that they cannot handle. You might correct that Congress can act in this matter I'm not sure it's inappropriate for the FCC to do so.


Then why didn't they step in to break up Ma Bell? That happened under anti-trust.


I don't think the FCC has that kind of power and anyway it was AT&T itself proposed the breakup. The court was concerned with virtual integration and wanted AT&T to give up ownership of Western Electric which produced most of the telephone equipment in the US.


Personally, I think it's an issue that should fall under the legislation and authorities that deals with antitrust and with censorship. However, the big unspoken motivation behind network neutrality is people's perceived human right of having access to pirated entertainment media. This whole thing started around 15 years ago when broadband networks weren't and still aren't designed for peer to peer sharing of entertainment media, the impact this had on the networks were significant. ISPs had to deal with this because of the impact on their customers, as anyone would know who shared a contented connection with people who had a peer to peer piracy addiction in those days. This was before the time of most legitimate means we have nowadays to obtain entertainment media over the internet, before Youtube, iTunes video, Hulu, Netflix, etc.

The issue is that peer to peer sharing of sharing of pirated entertainment media is not protected by antitrust or censorship legislation, so a 'third way' had to be found, some kind of overriding principle that even trumps copyright law but without mentioning it. That's net neutrality, which I think is redundant now because there are many legitimate and affordable ways to get entertainment media and the networks can easily handle multiple forms of high quality streaming media, but the political momentum behind network neutrality is still there and exploited by some content providers for their own gain.


Communications and trade clearly overlap here, so I think we should pursue it from both angles.

But historically, the FCC has a long history of regulating all sort of communications, not just things with public RF. The Communications Act of 1934 made them the successor to the Federal Radio Commission, adding responsibility for telephone regulation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Act_of_1934


It is hard to see how the FTC would be able to help if an ISP decides to block a peer-to-peer system that has no central service or business model.


> Hear me out: if the networks don't access a physically limited resource like the RF spectrum and there isn't any censorship issue at stake, if the issue is truly differential access and usage due to oligopolistic limitation, isn't it for the FTC to intervene and bust up throttling and content blocks under restraint of trade doctrine?

No, the FCC jurisdiction (even leaving aside broadband specifically) isn't predicated solely on a “physically limited resource”, otherwise it wouldn't have jurisdiction over telcos.

Further—while appeals have not been exhausted yet—AT&T v. FTC, if it holds up, will prevent any common carrier (e.g., any wireline telco) from being regulated in many activities by the FTC even in non-video-gaming activities (such as post-NN-repeal ISP services.)


Am I missing something? I thought, and I could be wrong, that this whole mess got started when they tried to establish NN through the FTC, but Verizon took them to Court on the basis that the FTC didn't have the authority to do that, and the FTC lost. Hence where we are with the FCC. If my version of reality is correct, it would seem the FCC implementation boat has sailed.


I think you're hitting on exactly the same thing I did in the OP: AT&T won over the FTC in 2014 on the very basis that broadband was classified as a common carrier[0]. The FCC has just removed that protection, so now the FTC should step up as the cop on the beat. That was the factual meat of my post. In my opinion, this could very likely be better for the public, because the legal definitions and technical specifications that make up agency regulations tend to be murky and fraught with politics. Anti-trust law on the other hand has a much stronger foundation, doesn't tighten the oligopoly, and doesn't cede any unanticipated federal control.

[0] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/09/atts-throttling-...


I thought Verizon sued over Title I classification (still FCC). They win and Title I status was removed. Then the FCC tried again with Title II. I could also be wrong.


> if the networks don't access a physically limited resource like the RF spectrum

Broadband cable/fiber are a physically limited resource to the installed lines, yes they can be expanded but they are not typically. They are using the same lines ran in the 90s just DOCSIS to get more throughput and duplexing.


> ..isn't it for the FTC to intervene and bust up throttling and content blocks under restraint of trade doctrine

Assuming the FTC isn't a regulatory capture agency, it is. FTC does very little here, it was in the FTC before 2015 it went Title II and the FCC.

The FTC also can't make it a utility, the FCC can via Title II, thus the reason it ended up there from the FTC in 2015.

FTC was fighting against net neutrality from 2007-2011 to today [1].

> In June 2007, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urged restraint with respect to new regulations proposed by net neutrality advocates, noting the "broadband industry is a relatively young and evolving one," and given no "significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm from conduct by broadband providers" such regulations "may well have adverse effects on consumer welfare, despite the good intentions of their proponents." The FTC conclusions were questioned in Congress in September 2007, when Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate interstate commerce, trade and tourism subcommittee, told FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras that he feared new services as groundbreaking as Google could not get started in a system with price discrimination.

The FTC is also a largely controlled agency by one party, I'll let you guess which one.

FTC's arguments up to 2011 were that no signs of abuse have emerged, that changed through 2015. One example is when Netflix/Comcast were already thottling them, Netflix even had to make fast.com because ISPs were 'fixing' their speed tests to lie.

FCC regulation, though I dislike the FCC as well, is the only place internet can be seen as a utility, which it is now and must be as so much is built on it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality_in_the_United_S...


I agree with your statements (not sure though, about the partisanship issue of any particular agency). The FTC's enforcement (in concert with the DoJ's) is responsive, not prescriptive, except under the interpretation of anti-trust law, which to my understanding is very robust for checking what NN proponents are fearful of happening, if ISPs in fact should make those moves.

Defining ISPs as Common Carriers makes me more uneasy. Are there really no unintended consequences there? My understanding is that Common Carrier status connotes that there is a recognized definitive benefit to having the monopoly, as with railroads or telephone networks. It seems to enshrine as necessary the municipal and regional exclusivity contracts. Are you so sure there would be no potential risks to innovation and a bequeathing of great power to ISPs by having them declared utilities?


> The FTC's enforcement (in concert with the DoJ's) is responsive, not prescriptive, except under the interpretation of anti-trust law, which to my understanding is very robust for checking what NN proponents are fearful of happening, if ISPs in fact should make those moves.

Responsive is not ok for a needed utility that many other companies run business on.

Scenario: 2025 Comcast is found to have hindered x amount of small to medium sized businesses, of which 1% may be big innovations/companies that could have provided jobs and advancement. For this they have to pay a double digit million dollar fine ($25m let's say) from the FTC in after-the-damage fines. Small beans for controlling competitive threats which we know is where every large fish goes in capitalism as a natural course. Monopolies need to be checked upfront when it comes to a utility that the entire country runs off of now. ISPs are hindering innovation currently, companies built on top of the network are not.

> Are you so sure there would be no potential risks to innovation and a bequeathing of great power to ISPs by having them declared utilities?

Eventually we will go to Open-access networks/muni broadband[1] where lines will be upgradable and commonly owned, municipal maybe because of the ISPs greed overreach. When the lines are utilities owned by the cities/localities like water, power lines then companies that improve the services get benefits and there can be multiple actual competitive companies competing for your customers through customer service, pricing and improvements to the networks.

I think that making it Title II, common carrier as well as taking ownership of the lines allowing companies to service them will lead to a more solid internet foundation.

In the 90s, cable/broadband companies were innovative and improving speeds. Getting on cable internet in '96 and the leap from 56k was revolutionary, it innovated and changed everything. Currently we should be getting gigabit and higher, but the ISPs are greedily bleeding us dry and stealing markets that could be. They are not the innovative companies that brought broadband speeds in the late 90s/00s, they are actively a weight on American innovation. Google Fiber competition changed everything for a year or two, Cox here even came out with gigabit which they can easily provide removing some channels as well. But they stopped expanding it when Google Fiber left due to ISP thuggery.

ISPs are our gateway to the internet, we need that to be innovative and how you do that is competition, there is no true competition. We want innovative companies running networks like the companies they were in the 90s.

The vast majority US only has 0 or 1 valid ISP with decent speeds if that at 25-100 Mbps[2][3].

ISPs are the biggest monopoly threat regarding open internet as they control the levers, not a company that operates on top of the internet in the market.

It can't get worse in terms of our ISPs.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipal_broadband

[2] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...

[3] https://consumerist.com/2014/03/07/heres-what-lack-of-broadb...


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> The democrats probably

Democrats largely want to keep net neutrality under FCC, Republicans want it under FTC.

The FTC Chairman is Republican Maureen K. Ohlhausen that went to Antonin Scalia Law School.

> fit their censorship approach they have started to take on since the 2016 election

Net neutrality has nothing to do with censorship, though censorship it is usually always bad. If you remember, Republicans used the FCC after the Janet Jackson Superbowl exposure event.

The right does want to make NN about censorship for some reason which I do not understand how equal access to every packet is censorship. Without net neutrality there will be more censorship because you'll only see what Comcast/Disney wants you to see. They want the right to inspect packets and slow down certain packets, this will lead to other bad surveillance encroachments as well without NN.


Mozilla is one of the few groups on the internet I'm proud to support. Keep up the good fight!


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I spend a non-zero amount of time fantasizing about how I'll be socially lynched out of my well-earned livelihood someday for some comment I made 40 years ago on Facebook–like personalities are etched in stone. I never used to do that.


Think about the presidents and politicians of the future. Every internet comment scrutinized, diced and then selectively used to attack/discredit when some entity desires to. It's a little scary, because when you feel like you are being watched (even if the "watching" is future walking the cat back from NSA archives), your speech is chilled.


How dare they kick out the guy that's so anti-gay marriage, he donated money to that "cause".


Do you want a world in which you're kicked out of your job because of the politics you support? It's antithetical to a society based on free speech.


I want a society where this kind of backwards, reductive and downright hateful notions, passed as "free speech", "politics" or just "speaking my mind, bro" have no place.

And i do want (and in some cases expect) organizations to support that kind of society and show the door to people holding these views.


I think it's you who is being "hateful". And I'm scared that I'll be persecuted for my views and denied from participating in something I'm good at and enjoy, probably by somebody who thinks like you.


A community disenfranchising people based on non-chosen traits.

!=

A community ejecting someone for supporting a movement towards communities disenfranchising people based on non-chosen traits.

I'm consistently amazed by people arguing that someone wanting to exclude all left-handed people or glass-wearing people is the same as an organisation booting someone for holding these backwards, bigoted, frankly despicable ideas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

> Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.


Poor, persecuted homophobes.


I supported them until the adware incident.


Please rethink your position. There are many people who genuinely care about freedom and privacy working at Mozilla, while at Facebook, Google, and Apple, developers are selling us out every day.


I’m sure there are many people working at Facebook, Google and Apple who also genuinely care about freedom and privacy, while there are developers working at Mozilla who are just as willing to sell out users as anyone.

It is true that Mozilla’s a nonprofit, but that doesn’t mean a lot to me when I try to guess what they’ll do in the future.


I think his point was that instead of throwing your hands up in the air and declaring all options to be equally terrible, it might be better to support actors that are generally good.


The original comment seemed to be “sure, some people working for Mozilla are bad, but some are good, and some people working for their competitors are also bad.”

My points were (1) the statement didn’t actually say anything interesting because it only talked about some of the people working at each company (i.e., it was just as true if you switched the company names around), (2) all companies are made up of people, so it’s hardly a surprise that some of those people have admirable motives and others don’t, and (3) “nonprofit” doesn’t necessarily mean “good,” or “pure in heart,” or whatever people seem to think it does.


False equivalence is the moral reasoning du jour, didn't you hear?


> It is true that Mozilla’s a nonprofit, but that doesn’t mean a lot to me when I try to guess what they’ll do in the future.

It should tho.

Mozilla is not free of mistakes, but they're recognized as such, and handled as such. Thanks to the non-profit status none of the bad decisions Mozilla made was a result of conflict of interests.

source: I work for Mozilla


My original comment was ambiguous: (1) I didn’t predict Firefox OS, Rust, the current branding push (moz://a), cancelation of particular projects, the switch to Yahoo search and the recent switch back to Google, etc., and (2) I didn’t expect any of Mozilla’s political activity, including this lawsuit. Knowing that Mozilla qualifies as a nonprofit in the US doesn’t make its behavior any easier to predict.

I believe that Mozilla’s nonprofit status requires it to show “community support” in the form of donations from a lot of people, so the tax status does influence the foundation’s policies in some way (e.g., policies can’t upset too many donors), but I think that influence is pretty limited.

Mozilla has to make do with the same imperfect people as everyone else.

——

Even though I’m bad at it, I will make one prediction: suing the federal government is expensive. Obviously Mozilla will use the lawsuit as a fundraising opportunity. If the suit is successful, they will have another reason to be mentioned in history books. But if the suit fails, or if the fundraising doesn’t work out, this might end up as a very costly mistake.


Plenty of bad decisions from Mozilla were the results of conflicts of interest - between their desire to be useful to users in the immediate term and their desire to push for a better web in the long term, or between individual employees' views and the organisation's interests, or even between their users' interests and the organisation's desire for money (the default search provider) - being a nonprofit doesn't mean you don't want money, it just means you spend everything you get, managers who want to empire-build still want to increase their revenue even in a non-profit.

Mozilla is exempt from one very specific set of interests that other web organisations have. They still have a vast number of competing interests to consider in their decisionmaking. Indeed Google's controlling shareholders, being mostly billionaires, may well exert less pressure in practice than Mozilla's donors.


It is hard, at this point, to claim that people working to advance the success of companies like Google and Facebook genuinely care about freedom and privacy. If they did, they would quit, and go work for competitors. The sort of talent these companies bring in have high incomes and are extremely sought after... it's not like they don't have a choice.


Bingo. All corporations have employees who have consumers' best interests at heart, and ones who don't. But a corporation exists as its own entity, and as an entity, google, facebook, and apple are against consumers, while mozilla is not.


> Apple

Do you have specific examples? I don't usually see instances of Apple being more than price-gougers who do a decent job with privacy, and I'm interested in learning more.


They participated in PRISM[1], essentially an NSA-sponsored backdoor. For the most part, however, I agree that they're significantly better than most other giant corporations.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(surveillance_program)


The fact Mozilla sold out its users to the makers of a TV show proves they're no different.


I supported until they started redirecting funds to some Social activism communities masquerading as "open source" projects.


So, legally speaking, does Mozilla have any ground to stand on here?

I'm having trouble imagining what law might exist that would legally require the FCC to enforce NN rules. Especially given the rules the FCC overturned here were originally instituted only 3 years ago. Could Mozilla have successfully sued the FCC back then if they'd failed to create these rules in the first place?


I would like to read the suit, because I don't think they have a leg to stand on. If the FCC can make the regulations, they can rescind them. The only thing maybe is process, but that only delays the inevitable.


Why is the EFF not doing this instead of Mozilla ?

Also I hope people still pursue municipal broadband, even with NN relying on faceless corporations seems like a bad idea.


A few guesses.

1. These things cost money and resources to initiate. EFF may see this as going nowhere†, so why spend the time and money?

2. EFF can always file a brief if the case ever does go to trial.

3. Almost forgot: Mozilla wants the PR.

†Here's Mozilla's claim:

> Mozilla seeks review of the Order on the grounds that it is arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §706, it abdicates the FCC's statutory mandate, and it is otherwise contrary to law.

IANAL, but I'm pretty damn sure the FCC can come up with a few decent arguments about why they're not behaving in an arbitrary and capricious manner...


The FCC has already explained why they believe they're not being arbitrary and capricious. They would repeat the same explanation in the courts.

It's up to the courts to decide whether or not they actually are being "arbitrary and capricious".


Unfortunately, in a case like this the courts use "deferential review" as opposed to what you're implying (known as "de novo review"). The decision would be upheld for as long as the administrator can produce some evidence to support the decision, even if the decision were wrong!

> The Court's focus is upon whether the plan administrator's final decision was "arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion" . Under this standard, the administrator's decision can be upheld by the Court, even if it is technically wrong, as long as there is "substantial evidence" in the administrative record to support the decision. "Substantial evidence" is a rather nebulous term, which has been defined by the appellate courts as: "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion" . It does not mean a large or considerable amount of evidence. It requires "more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance."

Source: http://www.angelfire.com/biz/romarkaraoke/Defer.html

Other sources that might interest you:

[0]: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/uploads/guides/stand_o...

[1]: http://lsolum.typepad.com/legal_theory_lexicon/2006/08/stand...


They are an advocacy group, "filing lawsuits" isn't really what they do. They don't provide a product that they can claim is damaged by this, while Mozilla does.

Here's the past cases they've been involved with, none of them filed by the EFF

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_litigation_involving_t...


Are the lawyers involved salaried employees of Mozilla? [edit:no] Perhaps there is some pre-paid number of hours/month type of thing... it may even be pro bono!

If instead they are billing hourly, then the whole process gets slightly more interesting to me - these do seem like the right people for the job!

https://www.steptoe.com/professionals-Georgios_Leris.html

https://www.steptoe.com/professionals-Markham_Erickson.html

I'm honestly not genuinely interested to know how that much about the funding situation (nor do I consider it any of my business), but considering how this affecting Mozilla's bottom line helps me understand their level of commitment. Is this just a marketing stunt?


Why Google/Netflix is not doing this instead of Mozilla?


EFF's mission statement : ... . Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development...

https://www.eff.org/about


Because it is in google/netflix's interest that net neutrality be abolished.


How so? How would Netflix benefit from NN being abolished?


They've reached a market position where NN doesn't really impact them much. They, now, have the cashflow to pay their way out. They can pay, smaller companies cannot, thus cementing their position in the market. Absence of NN, in an indirect way, helps them competitively by constructing artificial barriers to entry without taking the heat.

Sure ISPs have their own equivalent offerings, but dealing with one or two competitors in an area is easier than dealing with a couple of them.


Not so when their major competitors are literally part of the ISPs they have to negotiate with.

I know Netflix has pretty good penetration and awareness with customers, but people are fickle and will jump ship as soon as something better (or less shit, due to less bandwidth squeezing) is available.


What would they legally sue for? Just suing for an environment that existed for only 2 years, because they feel it is right, is not the purpose of a lawsuit. That needs to come through legislation.


Not a lawyer, but would guess because it would be a waste of their lawyer's and the court's time.


Either you do net neutrality or you do all of the following:

1) Remove "franchises" from localities.

2) Simplify right of way provisions to allow new cable to be buried easily.

3) Companies with installed poles must allow fiber to be run across them. (If they don't like that, go underground)

4) ISP's must tell consumers in plain english what restrictions exist on their service. Bandwidth caps. Throttled or Blocked ports, protocols, and sites.


What about privacy? How about:

5) ISP's must tell consumers in plain English that no information will be stored or used for any other purpose than providing the user with internet connectivity.


None of these have any power to mitigate the risks net neutrality is supposed to tackle, namely providers using their customer base to squeeze third parties that wish to reach them.


If you make the ISP market a truly competitive market then the market will come to a natural equilibrium, hopefully addressing those concerns. But as long as ISPs hold artificial monopolies in localities, it is anything but a free market.


Good luck!

One more vote in the senate and they can pass a bill to do this.

It seems the major providers are holding off on any large changes until they feel it is safe from political blowback. I find this interesting.


> One more vote in the senate and they can pass a bill to do this

Which would matter a lot more if the US had a unicameral legislature with no executive veto; the Senate passing a CRA bill shooting down the FCC repeal of open internet rules would be a potent symbol, but have no binding effect since it has near zero chance in the House and, doesn't have the supermajority in either chamber needed to survive a near-certain Presidential veto.


> a near-certain Presidential veto

Nothing is certain with Trump :)

(we can think about whether that's good or bad)


True, but it's not unlikely he's sold out and thus won't sign it.


A boy can dream...


Surely the easiest way to ensure net neutrality would be for the large players (google, facebook, etc) to band together and blacklist the networks for those providers who oppose net neutrality. Give them a taste of their own medicine.

Of course, I suppose that as its Mozilla pursuing legal actions it goes to show how just little Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc, actually care about net neutrality.


This is great! Though I wonder if there’s anything more we can do than call our representative like the article suggests.


My rep sent a canned, formal-language-adorned "get stuffed" in response.


I don't know. Something is going on in my locale.

I contacted my legislators about this a couple of times (maybe more?) first by email and then by phone. This was before Pai did the inevitable.

The staff who answered the call were variable in how aware they seemed to be about net neutrality. Some of them seemed to know what I was talking about, and others seemed clueless.

At the time, maybe a week or two later, I got a typical kind of response. I wouldn't say it was canned, but maybe something like that, explaining their position and so forth, which I knew. I've received many of these types of responses over the years on various issues (I'm not saying all the responses I've received have been like this, but a lot of them have been).

The thing that's strange is that the last couple of days, about the time the dems managed to gather their 50 votes, I started getting these emails from some of the same legislators explaining that they were crafting a response. These were legislators that already replied to me, a couple of months ago or so, and the vibe I got was that they wanted to reapproach the issue or something. I've received one of these letters, and the overall position hasn't changed, but it was more detailed and a little more defensive or something.

I'm not sure what's going on, but my gut impression is that the GOP legislators here are realizing they're on the minority end of this issue with regard to public opinion, and are trying to reapproach voters with a different PR spin, trying to do damage control and a "do-over" on an issue they weren't paying too much attention to before. They seem a little nervous about their position to me, even if they haven't changed it formally.


Mine replied with a canned response basically saying, "thanks for caring! Our senator supports the FCC... blah blah"

It was mildly insulting. The thing was clear they didn't even read it and assumed I was clueless.


What means did you use to share your concern? AFAIK there's a reason a phone call is recommended: letters barely matter, and emails/electronic form submissions are basically equivalent to not sent.


It's great that Mozilla is stepping up to do the right thing. Hope that other tech giants follow suit.


I think that most efforts to revert the Net Neutrality to the Obama-era state is severely hampered by how much the current administration is swayed by lobbyists. Though sad, the only course of action that seems available now is damage control until the next elections. I do still fully support Mozilla's efforts in the matter anyway.


Lobbyists provide a better ROI than most lawsuits.


[flagged]


Why would you insert your misleading message twice in the same topic within 15 minutes? It is hard to understand whether you are a disappointed Mozilla supporter or a paid troll for somebody. This is not exactly an accusation, but that's how it looks.

On the other hand, after this move, now I'm seriously planning to switch to Mozilla.


Because it's a discussion we need to have, and I realized that my standalone comment wasn't going to accomplish that.

My later comment did, BTW, even though it's now "hidden" to some extent for some unknown reason. HN mods being pro-Mozilla?

(BTW, an accusation which you claim is not an accusation is a poor accusation indeed.)


There is a growing list of stumbles as Mozilla pursues additional market share, but the the company is building the browser pointed in the best direction. Hopefully there is a happy medium somewhere between "a mistake has been made" and "the end justifies the means" but it's still being sorted out. In case you missed it, the extensive discussion was here last month:

Unknown Mozilla dev addon "Looking Glass 1.0.3" on browser | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15931730

Firefox is on a slippery slope | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15940144

I hope that HN's 'downvote to disagree' squad doesn't reduce your collection of random internet points too severely! I personally try to upvote every comment worth replying to. I would love to see the ratio of upvotes to downvotes & number of 'flags' associated with each account as kind of a 'degree of genuine participation' indicator.

PS. It's not the mods... 'ain't nobody got time for that!'


If you're talking about the Mr. Robot controversy, that wasn't spyware.


Not even adware or an ad in the state it was rolled out either, as it did nothing, except checking for an about:config-flag. If you manually enabled this flag, then it would have flipped around a few words.


We don't fully know that.

We know it was forced onto browsers in a manner which reeks of spyware.


We do know it, the extension is open-source [1]. The addon does nothing unless enabled via about:config and even then, it does not spy on you.

1 - https://github.com/mozilla/addon-wr


In case you're not aware (and for anyone curious enough to look), the extension was changed dramatically within days of when the story hit the fan. It's really hard for someone as inexperienced as me to tell what was actually run! https://github.com/mozilla/addon-wr/commit/7d4e422bf573f675b...

I believe it did technically run enough code to decide whether or not it was enabled, and I'm not sure whether or not its installation was avoidable (I believe enabling SHIELD studies is opt-in [perhaps part of opting in to analytics?]).


This is an unpopular opinion, but the disagreement point is trying to use the FCC to enforce Net Neutrality, not Net Neutrality itself. Since everyone has decided to stop talking about the end goal (an open internet) and instead insisting "my way or the highway", we've gotten ourselves to this point. Thank you for your downvotes. I'd rather talk about working together towards an end goal and finding similarities instead of differences.


FTC probably can't enforce net neutrality, this came from one of their commissioners [1]:

> The Federal Trade Commission will not be able to fill the gap created by the FCC’s abdication of its authority and sector-specific mandate. After-the-fact antitrust and consumer protection enforcement by the FTC cannot substitute for clear upfront rules, especially given that vertically integrated broadband ISPs have both the incentive and ability to favor their own content or that of paid “partners” over the content of rivals.

Only thing the FTC can do is after the damage fines, which will be underwhelming. Rules/law needs to stop ISPs upfront, this is why they want it away from the FCC and on the FTC. ISPs would rather win in the marketplace, get their monopolies cutting out competition, then pay a fine rather than innovating to compete. Upfront rules about net neutrality are needed to help create the next Google/Apple/Netflix/Facebook that would be crushed without it.

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements...




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